I am a Democrat and supporter of a presidential ticket that is pro-choice, though both are devout and professing Christians. There are those in the Christian community that insist that unless one is anti-abortion one is not only not pro-life but beyond the pale as far as being a Christian. How can I be a pastor and support pro-choice candidates, they ask?
In answer to the question I pose a few of my own.
1. When does life begin?
The easy answer is at conception, and while that may be technically true, is that when human life begins? This is important not only for the debate about abortion but also stem cell research. Beyond this, on what basis is this decision made? Is this based on science? Philosophy? Theology? On this question I don't believe that Scripture is clear and unambiguous (but more later).
2. Is there more to being pro-life than being anti-abortion?
I think this is an even more important question than the previous one. Being pro-life has been equated with being anti-abortion, but shouldn't we expand the definition? What about life after birth? What responsibility do we as society have for a person after birth? Doesn't being pro-life relate to such issues as poverty, education, immigration, capital punishment, war, torture? Again, on what basis is this definition made?
3. If we broaden the definition of being "pro-life," then which major political party is more "pro-life?"
I, of course, have a good idea as to what the answer should be. I believe that if we allow the definition to be expanded -- in a way that I think is faithful to the biblical text and especially the teachings of Jesus -- then I would claim to be pro-life (while also being pro-choice -- but that's another discussion).